Trolley Car Station, which closed in April after seven months at SEPTA’s renovated 40th Street trolley portal (3940 Baltimore Ave.), will get new life this winter as Renata’s Kitchen.
Renata’s owners Yasser and Kate Aiq aren’t going far to open this much larger spinoff of their cafe, which is about six blocks away at 4533 Baltimore Ave. and is known for such disparate dishes as shakshuka and lemon poppy pancakes.
The couple (say the name as “Ike”) started on Locust Street in 2012 when they took over Cafe Clave; a fire in March 2015 shut them down and sent them to their current location, which opened that September, a month after their wedding. They now have two kids, ages 20 months and 5 weeks.
They plan to serve breakfast and lunch at the outset, and will add Middle Eastern dinners and cocktails after a liquor license is secured. Yasser was a chef at Parc on Rittenhouse Square at its opening in 2008.
The current Renata’s will remain, serving what Kate Aiq said would be “lighter” breakfast and lunch menus. The kitchen alone at 40th Street, as they point out, is larger than their current cafe.
“We know how and why Trolley Car closed,” Kate Aiq said. “We plan to bring in a lot of staff and be there all the time.” It helps, she says, that they’re locals.